PHEB702 Philosophy of Film


Philosophy of film is a relatively new discipline of philosophy. There are two major conceptions of its status and objectives. The first of them understands Philosophy of film as a special kind of philosophy of art which has to be a philosophical reflection on the art of film. According to the second conception Philosophy of film is an independent medium of philosophy. Film is in this view a separate language of philosophizing. The course is based on the second conception. On the background of this conception the course considers several important questions like film and reality (ontology of film), memory and imagination in film, experience truth and illusion in film, space and time in film, meaning in film, moral conflicts in film etc. All these questions are discussed on the basis of significant films dealing exclusively with fictional film and excluding documentaries and animation movies.

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Prof. Hristo Todorov, PhD

Course Description:


Successful graduates of the course students:

1) know:

• The major conceptions of Philosophy of film;

• The nature of film as an independent medium of philosophizing.

• Contexts and meaning of important philosophical categories like reality, experience, truth, space, time film.

2) can:

• Understand the major theories and problems in Philosophy of film.

• Apply important philosophical categories in analysis of films.

• Understand and articulate philosophical arguments in film.

Students have knowledge and /or skills: basic knowledge in political philosophy.

Full-time Programmes

Types of Courses:

Language of teaching:


  1. What is philosophy? Problems of philosophy.
  2. Language and philosophy. Film as independent language of philosophizing
  3. Reality in film and reality of film – sights and sounds.
  4. he Wachowski brothers “The Matrix” (1999
  5. Experience, truth and illusion in film.
  6. Paul Anderson “Resident Evil” (2002)
  7. Memory and imagination in film
  8. Christopher Nolan “Memento”(2000)
  9. Written Assignment
  10. Space and time in film.
  11. David Lynch “Mulholland Drive” (2001)
  12. Andrei Tarkovsky “Stalker” (1979)
  13. Human identity – humans and replicants.
  14. Ridley Scott: “Blade Runner” (1982)
  15. Moral conflicts in film – Alan Pakula: “Sophie’s Choise”


Bordwell, David, Kristine Thompson: “Film History. An Introduction”, McGrow – Hill Higher Education 2002.

Bordwell, David, Kristine Thompson: “Film Art. An Introduction”, McGrow – Hill Higher Education 2008.

Carroll, Noel: “Engaging the Moving Image”, Yale University Press 2003.

Carroll, Noel, Jinhee Choi (ed.): Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures: An Ontology, Wiley-Blackwell 2005.

Carroll, Noel: “The Philosophy of Motion Pictures”, Blackwell Publishing 2008.

Cavell, Stanley: “The World Viewed”, Harvard University Press 1979.

Davies, David: “The Thin Red Line”, Routledge 2009.

Davies, David: “Philosophy of the Performing Arts”, Wiley-Blackwell 2011.

Falzon, Christopher: “Philosophy Goes to the Movies”, Routledge 2002.

Flory, Dan: “Philosophy, Black Film, Film Noir”, Pennsylvania State University Press 2008.

Gaut, Berys: “Art, Emotion and Ethics”, Oxford University Press 2007.

Gaut, Berys: “A Philosophy of Cinematic Art”, Cambridge University Press 2010.

Livingstone, Paisley, Carl Plantinga: “The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film”, Routledge 2009.

Mulhall, Stephen: “On Film”, Routledge 2001.

Sinnerbrink, Robert: “New Philosophies of Film. Thinking Images”, Continuum International Publishing Group 2011.

Wartenberg, Thomas E.: “Thinking on Screen. Film as Philosophy”, Routledge 2007.